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Mon, 30 Mar 2020

Northeast Today

Grow Your Own Food

Grow Your Own Food
February 07
14:35 2020

Sisir

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “grow your own food”? It will be one of the following reactions
a. Why should I do that when everything is available in the market?
b. Wow! That’s going to be very exciting.
So, let me start with some answers for the ones who think that it is absolutely illogical to cultivate food yourself. If you like to follow the news, you would probably know that some time back, Guwahati, the biggest city of northeast India was put under curfew suddenly. It caused a very large array of problems for the citizens and one of the most important being an acute shortage of fresh food. Rice, dal, flour, etc. were available but vegetables, meat, fish etc became very scarce and hence costly. But during this time, my family and a few more families like mine did not have to worry at all, because we had our stock of fresh vegetables growing in our homes.

What exactly is grow your own food?
A lot of people believe that a large open field with lots of equipments and materials and labour is necessary to grow your food, but let me tell you that it is a wrong concept. You can start small and grow part of your food while the rest can be procured from outside. The easiest way to do that is to grow your own vegetables and fruits while you buy the rice or flour from outside. Small scale animal rearing like quails, chicken or even fish can be done at your own home without much investment.

 

Why Grow Your Own Food?

  1. Fresh and healthy food every meal,
  2. Fully organic provided you do not use any chemical pesticides.
  3. Pocket friendly as cultivation can be done in near negligible
  4. Exotic fruits and vegetables are available whenever you
  5. Environment friendly as even the tiniest of the herbs convert carbon dioxide to
  6. Cooling effect of the soil and plants are evident when you compare the temperatures of a house with plants with one without
  7. Imagine burning calories at home and getting tasty food in return. Sounds better than a gym, right?
  8. Less dependency on the market means more savings in your monthly
  9. Water recycling can be easily done to feed the plants.
  10. Flaunt your bounty in front of all your friends.

How to grow your own food?

Growing food at home involves three main steps namely preparing the manure, preparing the soil and taking care of the plant. Let me describe each of them in detail.

Preparing the manure: This is the first step that needs to be done if you want to go for a fully organic form of growing your own food. The manure we are going to use is basically a compost of all the wastes from the kitchen like leaves, leftover food and the residue after washing food. Thermocol boxes which are used to transport frozen fishes, serve as excellent containers for this purpose. This manure needs to dry or rot until it has very less moisture so its good to put

 

it in the sun and occasionally stir the contents with a stick so that they are mixed properly. You can keep  on adding new waste matter to it everyday. One initial batch of manure should take around two months to be completely ready for use and subsequent batches can be ready in a month based on the weather. Once the manure is ready, we can go forward to the next step and the boxes used for making the manure can be reused and the process is repeated.

Preparing the soil : The growth of your plants completely depend on the preparation of the soil. As mentioned earlier, thermocol boxes are excellent for this purpose. The first layer of the box should be some organic material that has the capacity to retain water. For example dried coconut husk or dried sugarcane molluscs. This is followed by a layer of soil around two inches thick. This soil should be dried and in a fine powder form devoid of any roots or stems. This will prevent any weeds infecting the box from before. The next layer should be of manure and around three to four inches thick and lastly another layer of soil. One can also add cow dung to the soil if available. The soil and manure are mixed properly making the box ready for plantation .

 

Taking care of the plant: Once planted in the boxes the plants are now ready to grow and bear fruits but you still have to protect them from various infections and insects. Neem leaves serve as very good repellent for insects while ash and lime helps in controlling infections. Remember to water the plants as per the need and make sure the box has an outlet for  the access water that might accumulate in the monsoons.

Hope you try this at your place as well.. All the best for growing your own food.

(The author is a Travel & Tourism Trainer at Flywayy Institute of Airhostess Training, Guwahati)

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